The first piece of content visitors see when they arrive at your Facebook Page is your cover photo. This is their first impression of your organization. It takes up a pretty large chunk of the page real estate and its the most noticeable part of your Page so make the most of it. Creating a quality Facebook cover photo or video allows you to show your personality, brand story and even purpose as a company. You might show your staff solving a common goal to highlight the team-based nature of your workplace (especially if you plan to use Facebook to promote company culture and increase brand awareness). You could use the cover photo to advertise an impending event, offer a discount code, or simply convey the benefits of your product or service. These are relevant and efficient ways to make the best use of this cover space. On the flip side of all this Facebook cover photo goodness, poorly planned or rushed covers will convey an unprofessional and unprepared company culture. We know you don’t want that so here are some best practices when picking or designing an effective Facebook cover photo.

Follow Facebook’s cover photo guidelines.

Seems like a silly thing to mention but often Page Admins aren’t aware these guidelines even exist and unknowingly break the rules. No one wants their Facebook Page disabled over a silly cover photo error, so read the guidelines in full and stick to them. Here’s a link for you to familiarize yourself with Facebooks Page guidelines. Some of the main points regarding cover photos are below.

  • Covers can’t be deceptive, misleading, or infringe on anyone else’s copyright.
  • They must not include a verified checkmark or third-party products, brands or sponsors.
  • You can’t encourage people to upload your cover to their personal timelines.
Facebook cover photo sizes

Get the size right!

Facebook’s Page profile and cover photo instructions state the official size of the cover photo is 820 pixels wide by 312 pixels tall on a desktop. A very common mistake is to upload a photo with those dimensions and forget that mobile users will only see 640 pixels wide by 360 pixels tall. As a result, cover photos with text or important content around the edges of the photo get cropped presenting an unprofessional look for your business on mobile devices (where most Facebook viewers see your stuff).  So, keep the important content toward the middle, away from the edges for a polished look and to ensure that no marketing content is cropped out on mobile screens. Just because mobile screens only see 640 x 360 pixels doesn’t mean you can use an image that small. If you upload an image smaller than the 820 x 312 dimensions, Facebook will stretch it to fit the right size on larger devices, as long as it’s at least 400 pixels wide and 150 pixels tall. Often this gives your cover photo a grainy or blurry look… not so professional. Best practice is to make sure you use an image or artwork that is sharp at the correct dimensions versus trying to stretch an inappropriately sized image and use a sRGB JPG file type that’s less than 100 kilobytes.  If you’ve included a logo or text in the cover photo, a PNG file may get you a more polished look.

Keep it visual versus textual.

Did you know that humans process visual 60,000 times faster than text and that visual aids have been found to improve learning by up to 400 percent? Images are incredibly powerful. It might be tempting to load up your cover photo with keywords and information but considering our short attention spans and that Facebook viewers are primarily on smaller mobile screens, too much text isn’t likely to be read. Avoid clutter at all costs. Best practice is to give your visitors a clean introduction to your company with something clear and simple. Susitna Yoga is an Alaskan company that offers community and personal yoga classes focusing on alignment, body and breath awareness and flexibility. They do not do, nor do they want to, attract the sweaty, work hard and bend your body into a pretzel style yoga class follower. Their cover image clearly shows a person practicing yoga that matches their style with calm and poise that isn’t cluttered or busy. The text is short and simple with nothing remotely confusing. The availability of space in the cover image allows your eye to be drawn toward the “Book Now” button making their call to action a natural focal point.

Maintain consistent branding.

Your cover photo should represent what your brand does. This helps your customer know they’re on the right page and ensures you present a consistent image for your company online across mediums (Facebook, website, Google, etc.). It also helps lower bounce rates when viewers click from Facebook to website and vice versa. They feel like they’ve arrived at the right place, not taken on a wild goose chase with click-bait style brand inconsistencies. Here’s an example from Kitty Rise, a company that sells cat trees while donating a portion of their profits to cat rescue charities. The image has a happy human being making eye contact while snuggling her cat. With this image and the “Shop Now” button your brain doesn’t have to work too hard to know that this company sells stuff for cats. This Page cover photo also portrays this as a pleasant experience for both human and kitty. Notice the pink gradient matches the logo keeping the cover photo consistent with company branding. Susitna Yoga above also matched the green text with green from their logo.

Facebook cover photo for Kitty Rise

Let them get to know you a little.

Brick and mortar store owners regularly display what they’re selling to interested customers on the front of their building or street-facing windows to entice passersby to come in and learn more. Your Facebook cover photo acts a lot like that window display in the virtual world. It’s not a bad idea to demonstrate your product on your cover photo but you also want to convey to your customers that there’s more to your business than the widgets or services you sell. Here are a few way you can achieve this with style.

  • Showing off your happy, smiling hard-working team. Give your fans an insight into the humans behind your organization.
  • Show the benefit of using your product or service with a picture that shows a client, or an employee using it.
  • Pull back the curtain a little and share an image of the inside of your business. If your office is photo worthy, it’s a good way to show the professional side of your company.

Do better than a storefront picture.

An all too common and easy cover photo for many businesses with a brick and mortar location is to use a nice photo of your storefront. We’ve seen buildings with beautiful sunsets or interesting angles of the signage and even seasonal versions with fall colors or snowy roofs as covers. While it may seem like this is a relevant image, ask yourself if it does the best job of conveying your organization’s personality, brand story, and purpose? There is no evidence that says you should never do it but… could you use a storefront image that incorporates some of the other concepts mentioned in this article to improve? Maybe add a gradient or colored text block and add some meaningful text? Perhaps you could have a shot that includes your team or happy customers.

Invest in a quality video instead of a static image.

According to Wordstream, 45% of people watch more than an hour of Facebook or YouTube videos a week and social video generates 1200% more shares than text and images combined! Video trends will continue to rise so creating a quality video for your cover should definitely be on your roadmap. Video is a great way to share more information about your products and services.

Facebook currently supports cover videos that are between 20 and 90 seconds long, and a minimum of 820 pixels wide by 320 pixels tall. Facebook’s cover page video guidelines state that for best results upload a cover video that’s 820 x 462. If you decide to change it up later your video stays in your library so, as with static images, you can upload a few different videos and rotate them as needed. Keep in mind, your video should be just as simple and easy to understand as a static cover photo. The same guidelines outlined in the best practices above apply to cover videos as well.

Rotate covers, use the description area and add a link.

When you upload a new cover photo or video a new post is generated in the news feed shown to your audience. Make the most of it by adding a description, and preferably a call to action text that links directly to the offer, in the post. Any time people view your cover photo directly, they can access the download link. Switch your cover element out frequently to see how it impacts engagement. If you’re updating your cover photo or rotating covers from your library regularly you’ll get another opportunity to send traffic to your offer and for engagement each time.

Facebook cover photo description call to action link

Wrapping it up.

There is no magic formula to publishing a cover photo for every occasion or that or fits everyone but Facebook cover photo best practices include: 

  • Text: A little goes a long way. A brief slogan can help describe your brand, but too much can quickly overwhelm your photo.
  • Emotion: Happy customers or smiling staff can capture audience interest and increase the feeling of connection with your company.
  • Relevance: The image you choose should fit with both the nature of your company, branding and your audience’s interests.
  • Video: The same best practices apply with video as with static images and you should definitely consider using one.